Jessica Faust over at the BookEnds, LLC - A Literary Agency blog posted about idea theft on Monday. So, you know the drill - hop on over there and read her excellent post, as well as the comments.
The question asked of Jessica was . . . the idea – the spin – was something new and different, and putting it out there for contests would leave it open to idea stealing.
Her response . . . an idea is not copyrightable, so yes, someone could steal your idea, but what really matters in the end is the execution.
Another thing that stood out for me . . .
If your idea is brilliant, but you aren’t able to execute it as brilliantly, it’s not brilliant.
Her challenge to the readers of her blog . . . is for them to actually define “idea” when it comes to your book.
The main point that stuck in my mind is . . .
I think you need to focus on making the execution of your idea more brilliant than anyone else could ever make their execution.
I mean, whoever thought of taking their idea and making it brilliant. Ha!
We all know, or at least we should, that there are a finite number of ideas out in Storytelling Land. Ideas aren't in endless supply. The execution of ideas (I love, love, love that phrase) are in endless supply.
So, you see, I have this idea for a book about a group of friends . . . Well, there are tons of books out there about a group of friends. The idea isn't original. The way I wrote the story is, at least in my opinion, original. I took my initial idea and expanded on it, again, and again, until I created something similar to The Friday Night Knitting Club (a group of friends gathering together, supporting each other, and loving each other, etc.), but different because it doesn't involve knitting, it doesn't involve women friends of various ages, and doesn't deal with . . . well, I'm not going to give away the end. You can just pick up the book by Kate Jacobs and find out what happens for yourself.
The point is, I took the idea challenge (way before I knew about it, I must have been having a psychic moment) and crafted my own unique take on an idea that's been done before, and before, and before, and before, and . . . will be done after, and after, and after, and . . .
We, as writers, must take our ideas, shape them, hone them, polish them, and make them stand out from the generic idea into a brilliant idea that takes into account the premise of the idea and adds depth of character, setting, situations, conflict, drama, and a bit of unpredictability!
p.s. you better have checked out the blog post.